Riddle me this: what do cult leaders, politicians, and star actors have in common? They all know how to build a following and create a cult-ure that bends to their will.
In any great movement whether it’s getting someone elected to public office, convincing a group of followers to drink the Kool Aid, or building a base of raving fans that follow your every move, there are a couple of things that are always present.
First and foremost, there is a charismatic, future pacing leader at the helm of the movement.
I’ll give you an example.
If you think back to the 1980s there was a great surge in interest for Sci Fi projects and directors like Steven Spielberg and James Cameron made their names by capitalizing on the movement. This wasn’t by accident. Ten years earlier or ten years later, their stars would have been much dimmer.
See, the interest in Sci Fi films coincided with the public’s interest in space and exploration because of the NASA space shuttle program.
On a similar note, Michael Moore and Bowling for Columbine would not have created such a stir ten years earlier or ten years later.
As actors we are creatives. We tend to get caught up in the artistic side of the business and overlook the bigger picture. Because success in the industry is always by design, our career moves must not be made haphazardly.
If you want to create a movement that inspires people to follow your every move, you have to meet them where they are. Once you appeal to their present mindset, you can take them boldly into the future.
I’m not going on a tangent here. Stick with me.
Take James Cameron and Avatar, one of the reasons that film worked so well is that we all have that desire in the back of our minds to plug in and be an avatar.
Take Spielberg for example. When his career took off, he met millions of people where they were: with an interest in space exploration and Sci Fi and he filled that desire. Demand for projects like his increased and Hollywood responded by filling the demand and greenlighting Spielberg films. He became the Sci Fi guy.
This holds true across any genre, not just Sci Fi. Take Romantic Comedies for example. Kate Hudson became one of the charismatic leaders of the Rom Com movement. And because she always gets the guy in the end, she fills that desire in the hearts of the audience.
See we call ourselves entertainers but it’s often so much more than that. We provide the audience with an avenue through which they can live vicariously through us, or relive the glory days through our projects.
So many of us get stuck in the Trench of Regret because we are not reaching the levels of success that we seek, as quickly as we want it.
The only way to fix this is to take a step back and specialize. Become a category of one.
Remember that concept from weeks prior? Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will be typecast. That is the old school way of thinking and it’s flawed logic.
Have you ever heard of a “Jack of all trades and master of none?”
I’m sure you have and the industry abides by this too.
Look, you can’t earn a reputation for being a world class actor by playing a character type once and then moving on to next. This makes you completely forgettable. It’s like allowing someone to have a single bite of a stellar meal or one single sip of a terrific wine.
They can’t fall in love with you with such limited exposure.
Think of actors that have legendary careers. Take George Clooney for example, when was the last time you saw him play a role that wasn’t cunning, charming, and after something that would fulfill a matter of the heart? If you want someone to play this role then Clooney is the only logical choice. He is a category of one.
Think of someone with a more colorful career, like Johnny Depp. On the surface, it may seem that his roles are highly diverse. But if you start to dissect them, you’ll quickly see that at their core they are in fact the same.
Johnny Depp always plays an off the wall character with numerous ticks and quirks that are beyond over the top. When was the last time he played an accountant, for example? Can you imagine anyone else playing jack Sparrow or Willy Wonka? He is a category of one.
The most successful actors have all specialized.
What you may not realize is that once an actor (like yourself) has successfully created a category of one. The industry begins to rearrange itself to fill the demand of the character you have just created. New projects are slated and greenlit with you in mind. What could be better than this?
It makes perfect sense! Hollywood is a business and the law of supply and demand rings as true as in every other business.
Just look at films like How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. The project wasn’t out there floating haphazardly, it was slated to fill the demand of the category that Kate Hudson had created for herself: The All American Rom Com girl.
Don’t take this to mean that once you select a character you want to specialize in, you’ll be stuck with it forever. Not by a long shot!
Your career will go through a natural progression and evolution.
Look at the evolutionary arch of Matthew McConoughey. Dallas Buyers Club is a far cry from The Wedding Planner, but what’s important to note is that he evolved to it.
Remember the term we keep using is ”category of one.” This doesn’t mean one category. You can and will evolve from one category to the next.
Think of Jennifer Garner and projects like Alias and The Kingdom. These were much different than Juno and Miracles from Heaven.
As actors, we boast about the diversity of our talent with much pride. We wear the ability to go from stunts and pyro to tear jerker as a badge of honor, and by all means you should!
The only way to have longevity in the industry is to have a genuine talent, otherwise you’ll end up like the Freddy Prinze Jrs. of the world: little more than a flash in the pan.
Getting to that next level in your career requires doing things differently. Remember that we’ve been talking about executing with the right mechanics is what ultimately leads to success. In this case that means specializing.
The only caveat to that is, if you already have more than enough work as an actor, then keep doing what you’re doing!
However, if your calendar isn’t full, If you could use more gigs, or if you just know that you deserve and are capable of so much more than the career you currently have, it’s time to do somethings differently.
Execute with the right mechanics and everything else will fall into place.
Because you are a member of the tribe, you have an opportunity to make the execution much easier and achieve success much faster. Go here to learn more.
You already know that you need to increase your reach on social media and increase your industry credibility in order to be taken seriously and get the big auditions and opportunities. Executing on everything here, is Step 2.
Get all the details about Step 1 here.
Go to Step 1 and then come back here and start working on Step 2.
Remember I’m here to help every step of the way, so let me know how I can help.